Category Archives: Elections

RIP Sonny Vickers + two sewer lines fixed @ VCC 2022-06-23

Update 2022-06-27: Trash boom good; more needed –Suwannee Riverkeeper @ VCC 2022-06-23.

Flags are to fly half-mast Sunday across the entire state of Georgia at the state Capitol and in Lowndes County for the late Sonny Vickers, whose absence loomed large over the Valdosta City Council meeting. The funeral will be 3 PM Sunday. There will be a special election for his Council seat, as required by the city charter.

[Sonny Vickers and other matters]
Sonny Vickers and other matters

Mayor and Council also increased the number of vehicles for their on-call transit service, and approved two sewer line fixes.

One Citizen to Be Heard proposed renaming Cherry Street to Sonny Vickers Lane. Two others asked the city to do more about trash.

Also, that was the last Council meeting for Utilities Director David Frost, whose last day was today (Friday).

Below are links to each LAKE video of each agenda item with a few notes, followed by a LAKE video playlist. See also the agenda. The board packet, received in response to a LAKE open records request, is on the LAKE website. Some of the materials are out of order (I don’t know why), so if you don’t find something at first, keep looking.

Here’s a LAKE video playlist:

RIP Sonny Vickers + two sewer lines fixed @ VCC 2022-06-23
Valdosta City Council Regular Session, June 23, 2022, Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia.
Videos by John S. Quarterman for Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE).

-jsq

Investigative reporting costs money, for open records requests, copying, web hosting, gasoline, and cameras, and with sufficient funds we can pay students to do further research. You can donate to LAKE today!

Airport, parking lots, transit, CDBG, sewer, and WWTP @ VCC 2022-06-23

Update 2022-06-24: LAKE videos.

The Valdosta City Council tomorrow will consider two sewer line issues, at Sustella Avenue and at the Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant. Also two airport issues, and more.

Including a special election for City Council District 3, now vacant because of the death of Sonny Vickers (pictured, top left). Terry Richards, Valdosta Daily Times, June 17, 2022, Vickers passes: Remembering Valdosta’s first Black mayor

[Front Row: Mayor Scott James Matheson; Middle Row: Ben Norton, Council At-Large, Sandra Tooley, District 2, Tim Carroll, District 5, Vivian Miller-Cody, Mayor Pro-Tem, District 1; Back Row: Sonny Vickers, District 3, Andy Gibbs, District 6, Eric Howard, District 4.]
Front Row: Mayor Scott James Matheson; Middle Row: Ben Norton, Council At-Large, Sandra Tooley, District 2, Tim Carroll, District 5, Vivian Miller-Cody, Mayor Pro-Tem, District 1; Back Row: Sonny Vickers, District 3, Andy Gibbs, District 6, Eric Howard, District 4.

Here is the agenda.

AMENDED AGENDA
REGULAR MEETING OF THE VALDOSTA CITY COUNCIL
5:30 PM Thursday, June 23, 2022
CITY HALL, COUNCIL CHAMBERS

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Videos: Everything unanimously approved in fifteen minutes @ LCC 2022-05-24

The Lowndes County Commission approved everything as fast as they could hear each item read and vote, at their fifteen-minute Regular Session of May 24, 2022.

[Some agenda items]
Some agenda items

Below are Continue reading

Videos: Two Valdosta items, Walkers Crossing Roundabout, Reports @ LCC 2022-05-23

Update 2022-06-16: Videos: Everything unanimously approved in fifteen minutes @ LCC 2022-05-24.

Not even two minutes on any business item at the most recent Lowndes County Work Session.

[Attorney, Utilities, Engineering, Manager]
Attorney, Utilities, Engineering, Manager

The answer to which roads on the LMIG item is that Continue reading

Videos: Stealth Commission district reapportionment and half million dollar developer giveaway @ LCC 2022-01-25

As expected, the Lowndes County Commission at its Regular Session passed the half million dollar bailout for a developer.

Not expected, they changed the agenda at the beginning of the meeting to approve new Commission district maps and a resolution supporting them, for immediate transmission to the state.

One citizen wishing to be heard spoke about the never ending noise from the 15 month old Arglass factory.

[Amendment, Commissioners, New Districts]
Amendment, Commissioners, New Districts

Developer Bailout

For 5.k. Property Purchase – Building Valdosta, LLC County Manager Paige Dukes said staff acted at the direction of the Commissioners, seeming to distance herself and staff from this action.

Reapportionment

I’m guessing the added agenda item was 5.l..

Vice Chair Joyce Evans, presiding over the meeting in the absence of Chair Bill Slaughter, introduced the agenda change for district reapportionment indicating the Commissioners all already knew this was going to happen. Continue reading

Discussion of court grants and Loch Laurel Road project, little of property subsidy @ LCC 2022-01-24

At yesterday morning’s Lowndes County Commission Work Session, there was no discussion by the Commissioners about 5.k. Property Purchase – Building Valdosta, LLC, but new wrinkles did come to some small light.

County Manager Paige Dukes said “This is a follow up on the Building Valdosta purchase of property we have discussed with you several times…” In what public meeting did those discussion take place? She also said the county attorney had worked out an agreement with Building Valdosta, yet that agreement was not in the board packet. And she remarked, “Any other claims related to this will continue through, um, any process with ACCG that they may have for lost profits.” She immediately called for an Executive Session for “Client-privileged communication regarding potential or pending litigation and for the purchase of property.”

Sounds like the county got sued by a developer, or was threatened with a lawsuit, and is resolving that by bailing out the developer with half a million of our tax dollars.

How can any developer who did the slightest due diligence not know that the subject property on GA 122 east of Bemiss Road is in the Moody Activity Zone (MAZ)? If that’s not their beef, what is?

[Joyce Evans presiding]
Joyce Evans presiding, VOCA/CESF grant, Loch Laurel Road project, Property Purchase — Building Valdosta, LLC

Below are links to each LAKE video of each agenda item with a few notes by Gretchen, followed by a LAKE video playlist. See also Continue reading

No rezonings: Moody AFB, Courts, DA, Safety, Road, Nelson Hill Lift State @ LCC 2022-01-24

Update 2022-01-24: Board packet and Why should Lowndes County spend half a million dollars to subsidize a developer? 2022-01-24

The neverending Miller Bridge Road subdivision is not in this Lowndes County Commission agenda for Monday and Tuesday. For that, see the Planning Commission agenda for January 31, 2022.

But the County Commission agenda does contain two examples of how taxpayers are subsidizing development in Lowndes Counta. The $45,742.00 for the 5.d. Nelson Hill Lift Station Pump Upgrade is “Due to growth in the area”: growth the county is actively promoting.

The $568,971.00 for 5.k. Property Purchase – Building Valdosta, LLC is a markup of $323,971 over the price that property sold for last year, supposedly to protect Moody AFB, even though how is not said and it’s 2.4 miles away.

[Agenda, Nelson Hill Lift Station]
Agenda, Nelson Hill Lift Station

Cost What
$568,971.00 Property Purchase – Building Valdosta, LLC
$45,742.00Nelson Hill Lift Station Pump Upgrade
$16,496.88 AT&T Switched Ethernet Circuit Continuation of Service
$631,209.88Total

Nelson Hill Sewer Lift Station

On the one hand, I commend Lowndes County Utilities for staying ahead of sewer system demand and thus preventing sewage spills. On the other hand, look at why the agenda sheet says: Continue reading

Appoint Tax Assessors, 3 water, 3 road, 1 pandemic, 1 software @ LCC 2020-09-21

Applying this morning for Board of Tax Assessors are Mr. Gene Felts and Mrs. Gretchen Quarterman. The Lowndes County Commission will vote tomorrow (Tuesday) at 5:30 PM. That and almost $4 million in water, road, software, and fire items.

Cost What
$1,681,770.84Grading, Drainage, Base, and Paving of Clyattstone Road and Simpson Lane.
$1,417,333.98Clyattstone Water Main Extension
$489,310.00Motorola SUAII (Evergreen)
$128,075.58Firefighter Personnel Request
$41,217.6.00Foxborough Lift Station Pump
$34,169.28Drainage Improvements to Brinson Lane and Oak Hill Drive
$22,500.00FY2021 Joint Funding Agreement with USGS
$19,800.00Land Application System (LAS) Expansion Agreement
$3,834,177.28Total

Apparently paving does not solve all problems, because one of the four water items is Drainage Improvements to Brinson Lane and Oak Hill Drive to “eliminate flooding issues as a result of the paving of Oak Hill Drive.”. The other three water items are FY2021 Joint Funding Agreement with USGS for the Folsom Bridge (GA 122 Little River & Skipper Bridge (Withlacoochee River) USGS gauges, Foxborough Lift Station Pump, and Land Application System (LAS) Expansion Agreement.

In addition to Brinson Lane, there are two more road items: Grading, Drainage, Base, and Paving of Clyattstone Road and Simpson Lane (how much have they spent on that project combined so far?) and Acceptance of Infrastructure for Val Del Villas. The latter is listed as no cost, despite the Brinson Lane episode.

[Survey Plat]
Survey Plat

Also on the agenda: Grant Submission Request – COVID-19 Response Grant Application, partly to “Recruit and hire a sufficient number of poll workers and inspectors to ensure polling places are properly staffed,” , a Firefighter Personnel Request, and Motorola SUAll (Evergreen) software.

Received in response to a LAKE open records request, the board packet is on the LAKE website. Here is the agenda.

LOWNDES COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
PROPOSED AGENDA
WORK SESSION, MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 21, 2020, 8:30 a.m.
REGULAR SESSION, TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2020, 5:30 p.m.
327 N. Ashley Street – 2nd Floor

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Videos: New Valdosta Mayor, Mayor Pro-Tem, and $2 million budget surplus while record raw sewage was spilling @ VCC 2020-01-09

A month ago at the Valdosta City Council we learned that Valdosta has a $2,410,000 budget surplus.

Valdosta municipal audit and budget surplus
5b) Presentation of the Municipal Audit for Fiscal Year 2019

Maybe they could spend some of that to help fix the well and river testing costs downstream on the Withlacoochee River of Valdosta’s record 7.5 million gallons of raw sewage spill into Sugar Creek, which has taken two months to maybe finally get diluted down the Withlacoochee River, twice entering Florida, with three Florida river advisories, and with Georgia warning signs on the Withlacoochee River downstream of Sugar Creek by Lowndes County and by WWALS (but not by Valdosta).

One City Council member tells me that audit doesn’t mean Valdosta has $2 million cash lying around. But they do have several hundred thousand unspent.

Maybe they could also budget some of that surplus to help fix the stigma, the decades-long reputational damage to all our rivers, caused by Valdosta’s chronic sewage spills. That would involve for example water quality testing or paying for testing downstream on the Withlacoochee River and doing marketing.

Four Citizens spoke at the end of the meeting: Continue reading

New Mayor and Mayor Pro-Tem @ VCC 2020-01-09

Here is the agenda and a few pictures of the first Valdosta City Council meeting of 2020, including the installation of new Mayor Scott James Matheson and new Mayor Pro-Tem Tim Carroll.

[Seldom seen this full]
Seldom seen this full

A few City Council members were re-elected and took the oath of office again; none are new. LAKE videos will follow. Continue reading